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Why Extrasensory Perception is Part of the Good Life

This life is a rough go, no question about it. Pain, suffering, trauma, disappointment, and shame come to us all, usually more than once, in our tenure here on earth. The sheer universality of this experience could potentially bind us in a common resolve to reduce the number of times we inflict pain on each other, but unfortunately we haven’t yet made that collective decision. Instead, we respond to our suffering by hunkering down and powering ourselves through constant physiological cycles of fight, flight, freeze and fawn in which we discharge our pain by hurting ourselves or others. Even when our lives are relatively stable, and we have material wealth, supportive families, and/or loving relationships, ‘ordinary’ reality is tumultuous and unpredictable. No amount of money can guard us against all unforeseen loss, and a loving family can’t protect us from all heartache or deception. So if we believe that this is all there is, that this reality of unforeseen ups and downs, highs and lows, is literally the beginning and end of existence, then we’re trying to survive on quicksand. We’ve pinned our expectations, our identities, and our sense of meaning and purpose to something that is chaotic and unpredictable, and this is a very unsettled and unsettling place to try to thrive. It’s understandable then, that a state of survival becomes our baseline. While we may have moments of happiness, connection, and joy, our default place is one that senses inherent threat and scarcity in the world around us, which in turn deeply depresses our sense of what’s possible. One of the best remedies to this is connection with other people - relationships in which we feel fully seen, understood, and accepted and which therefore not only provide a sense of belonging, but the feeling of security and purpose that comes with knowing you have unconditional love and a guaranteed place. The work of trauma therapists, psychologists and counselors who are informed on human physiology and the autonomic nervous system all rests on our human need to feel connected - and the fact that we need connection so intensely we equate it with a sense of safety or security. The wonderful work of Brene Brown provides the quantitative and qualitative data to support this, as well as insightful explorations on how we can - and must - work through the alienation of shame and embrace the vulnerability of expressing our authentic selves in order to forge meaningful connections with ourselves and others. But the healing balm of our human relationships is not always available, and it’s much easier to declare in a blog that this is what one needs, then it is to go out and make a best friend or get a ride-or-die lover. Last summer I walked by my teen daughter's open bedroom door, and the gruesome sounds of low growls and tearing flesh made me take a few steps back and pause in the doorway. She was watching a streaming show on her laptop, and it obviously featured zombies. It was also obvious she was entranced and barely knew I was there. I refuse to watch anything in the horror genre, for many reasons, and haven’t seen gore since the late 1980s. But there was something about the low budget camp quality of the production, the laughably slow and dimwitted attacks of the zombies, and the intelligent earnestness of the human characters that lit a tiny spark of interest in my mind, and I settled on the bed to watch with her. By the end of the episode, I was hooked. Some of you may already know by this description that the show was The Walking Dead - I know you diehard fans are out there, everywhere. I binged the remaining seasons in record time. I couldn’t consume it quickly enough, despite the violence. And here’s why. The dead who walked served merely as a context, a moving set against which the real drama of the surviving humans could be played out. As they navigated the dismal landscape characterized by the probability of suffering and death, the living humans made choices. They banded together in mutual defense of each other; they sacrificed and suffered for each other and brought comfort and encouragement to one another. They also raided and pillaged, manipulated and coerced, and tortured and murdered. Some intended merely to survive; others tried desperately to forge noble collectives living in peace and cooperation, while others used sheer brutality to build kingdoms or cartels. The story told by the show is ultimately a parable, and the lesson of that parable is not about a mismanaged viral outbreak, or the failures of our politicians, or even the carelessness with which we are manipulating biological life. The lesson of The Walking Dead parable is simple: other people can be our greatest resource, or our greatest downfall. Other people can be the source of our highest joys, or our deepest suffering. Other people can make us, or they can break us. I don’t know if the writers had this message in mind; maybe it was an inadvertent byproduct of developing a post-apocalyptic show that centers more thoughtfully on the survivors than it does on the monsters. But it still stands as a simple light that glows quietly in the darkness, and which now humbly illuminates the lens through which I perceive my own life and our shared experiences. Human regret seems to consistently be born from missed opportunities to have deeper connections with others, or from moments in which we damaged connections by causing pain and suffering to someone who did not deserve it. We desperately need connection, but we don’t always find or accept it with other people. So, what now? If this truth is resonating with you as it did for me, then what do we do with it? In more than twenty-five years of cultivating a spiritual life and exploring the very broad range of non-ordinary experiences that we call metaphysical, psychic, or alternative realities, and hearing about or witnessing countless other experiences, it’s effortless for me to now say that I believe there is more to our reality than what we can perceive with our five ordinary senses or measure with our current technology. The old scientific paradigm is fading, and the new science is acknowledging truths about our world that mystics have been quietly murmuring for centuries and artists have been encountering in their most inspired moments: everything - no matter how solid it appears - is energy. Energy is always vibrating, thrumming, and interacting, and it isn’t empty. It is information. That means that you, sitting in your favorite chair scrolling through social media on your phone, are not separated by empty space from everything around you. Instead, you are a pulsating field of energy/information waves connected to countless other living energy/information waves in a boundless oscillating energy/information Ocean that is teeming with every thought, feeling, experience, intention, perspective and thing possible. Because we are not solid floppy objects gravitating in empty space around other solid floppy objects, our five ‘ordinary’ senses are not the only tools at our disposal. Each one of us has extra-senses that can be developed with practice and used to send, receive and interpret energy/information that cannot be perceived by our ordinary channels of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. We are raised in this western materialist culture to believe we only have five channels, but the reality is we can exercise our skills to add at least five more, and to function more like an advanced iphone than a standard radio. But why would we want to do that? What’s out there in that vast field of invisible pulsating energy/information that makes it worth stepping into the world of meditation, incense, and kookiness? Why subject ourselves to the judgment of family and friends, and risk feeling so foolish and misled? The Proof is in the Pudding The original version of this expression is the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and it means that the ultimate value of something can’t be decided arbitrarily ahead of time - it can only be determined by direct experience, or by assessing its results after the fact. Many, many truths that we take for granted each day developed into accepted facts simply because they demonstrated positive results. For example, the World Health Organization says that every adult needs a minimum of 400 grams of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. That number was landed on by observing what happens to human health when fewer than 400 grams is consumed regularly. In fact, every accepted truth about lifestyle factors and health - optimal diet, hours of sleep, exercise and activity, time spent with friends and family - were all developed through the process of observing results. If a habit or activity produces positive results, then it is considered healthy. We also use our direct experience - stretching and exercising feels good; as does eating well, getting lots of sleep, having a good time with friends, and experiencing love. It’s reasonable then to apply the same pudding test to the development of the extra-senses. How does it feel to use our extra-senses to connect to the Invisible Ocean and what are the physical, emotional, and psychological results of doing so? Pudding Test Part One - The Direct Experience is Positive We have to slow down, rest our poor overworked minds, and drop down into our centers in order to adequately receive and interpret subtle energies/information. Cultivating this practice of moving out of a producing state, and into a receiving state, in and of itself is incredibly therapeutic. These practices come in a great variety, from many different religious, spiritual and philosophical traditions, but for ease of understanding I’ll use the common term of meditation or mindfulness. I have heard many complaints about the difficulty of entering into and maintaining the receiving state, but I’ve yet to hear of any complaints from those that have been successful. (For tips on how to move through the challenges of developing a meditative practice, see my Instagram or Facebook posts. You absolutely can develop a very fulfilling practice with some self-empathy, patience, and consistency. And you do not need yoga pants, incense, or chanting if you don't want them.) From my own countless experiences, and from all of the accounts I’m aware of from others connecting with the Subtle Energy Field - mystics, ecstatics, shamans, psychics, mediums, channels, intercessory and prayer warriors, animal communicators and ordinary meditators - resting into our centers and communing with the Flow of subtle energies feels really, really good. We experience the release of stress, fear and worry, and we enter places of love, peace, wisdom, unity and insight. (There are false psychics, con artists and deceivers who take advantage of the lack of regulation in the New Age and religious industries to manipulate and steal for their own gain. That is a very good topic for another article. For this one, I am describing the universally positive experiences of those who are actually connecting with subtle energies, and who are doing so with good intentions.) Pudding Test Part Two - The Results are Positive The demonstrable positive effects of having a meditative or spiritual practice are thankfully well documented at this point, due in part to growing interest in and acceptance of alternative therapies. There are many sound and credible sources online discussing their proven effects, and I will list a few at the end of the post for further reading. People who cultivate a practice of communing with the Subtle Energy Field report improved physical health, mental well-being, and emotional resilience. It’s common to hear of emotional healing that came from connecting with the soul of a departed loved one, an increased sense of peace that comes from shifting toward belief in the existence of life after death, a sense of connection that comes from an expanded perception of reality, a profound experience of being intimately connected to all of life, and a deepening sense that our universal fabric is inherently loving and benevolent. Remember how I mentioned the work of Brene Brown? I admire her and am grateful for the trail she blazed in validating the debilitating effects of shame, and the regenerative power of vulnerability and authenticity, but I also mention her here because she says this in her book Daring Greatly: “I was also startled by the fact that research participants consistently described both joyfulness and gratitude as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human connectedness and a power greater than us.” “Spirituality emerged as a fundamental guidepost in (research on) Wholeheartedness. Not religiosity but the deeply held belief that we are inextricably connected to one another by a force greater than ourselves - a force grounded in love and compassion. For some of us that’s God, for others its nature, art or even human soulfulness. I believe that owning our own worthiness is the act of acknowledging that we are sacred.” It really doesn't matter if you are communing with the Subtle Energy Field in a church, a mosque, a new age spiritual center, or your living room. It doesn’t matter if you experience a personal God, or a more abstract sense of awe from the beauty and interconnectedness of nature, the encouraging presence of a deceased loved one, the guidance and insight of an angel or spirit guide, or the chatty stream of thoughts from your pet dog or cat. What matters is that all of this communion is done through the invisible energy fields, using our extra-senses, and it connects us to an Invisible Something that is not only positive, but also infinite and eternal. Instead of trying to survive in an external ordinary reality that is fundamentally unpredictable, we can thrive by rooting ourselves in an internally accessed non-ordinary Reality that is benevolent, wise and steady. It is in this ground that we can know that we are safe and free, and that we always belong. Starter resources on the benefits of meditation and spirituality Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are - Mayo Clinic Benefits of Meditation: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation ( Spirituality linked with better health outcomes, patient care | News | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Spirituality: How It Affects Your Mental Health ( Extrase More on Brene Brown Brené Brown (

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